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5 from 5 votes

Venetian Duck Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

A rich Venetian duck ragu made with cinnamon, orange, white wine and tossed with pappardelle pasta. This beautiful pasta dish has a festive feel to it but can be eaten all year round. It's super comforting, easy to prepare and sure to impress!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 524kcal
Author: Emily Kemp



  • Season the duck with salt and pepper then rub it all over with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Sear it skin down first in a large pan with a little olive oil on a medium to low heat for 7-8 minutes on each side until browned, set aside on a plate.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the same pan, add the chopped carrot, onion and celery, orange zest, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and saute slowly for 10 minutes, stirring often until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the duck back to the pan and add the wine, reduce the wine by half then add the orange juice, pureed tomatoes (passata), tomato paste and stock stir to combine all the ingredients and simmer slowly uncovered for 2 hours turning the duck around halfway through. If the sauce reduces too much add more stock or water.
  • Turn the sauce off the heat and remove the duck legs, let it cool on a chopping board for 10 minutes then shred the meat off the bone using a fork. Roughly chop it then add it back to the sauce, the ragu is ready at this point so heat the ragu up while your pasta is cooking.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pappardelle according to packet instructions. Remove the pasta with large tongs or a spaghetti spoon (if draining reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce in case it has reduced too much) and add to the ragu. Toss to coat and serve in bowls with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.



  • Make sure to sear the meat in the pan first. This helps seal in moisture, keeping the meat juicy and also adds flavor to the sauce. You also want to crisp up the skin as best you can ready for simmering in the sauce.
  • Take your time when sauteing the vegetables, this is where a lot of flavors develop so do not rush it and don't be tempted to turn up the heat.
  • Make sure to let the duck rest when you remove it from the sauce before shredding, if you cut into it too quickly the meat will toughen up.
  • If you don't like cinnamon you can omit it but it really enhances the flavor of the duck.
  • Make sure to season the duck well with salt and pepper before cooking and also taste the ragu at the end to make sure it has enough seasoning, add more salt if required.
  • Use good quality chicken stock (homemade if possible), if you don't have this use vegetable. Please be aware that store-bought stocks can be heavily salted so always taste the ragu before adding salt in at the end.
  • Use a high-quality pasta brand, this is one of my favourite and widely available or follow my recipe for homemade pasta.


Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 918mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2985IU | Vitamin C: 16.8mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 5.4mg